A walk through First Colony Mall makes me
want to pull my hair out. You pass by the same stores seen
in the same malls throughout the whole nation. Chains and
chains of mass-produced zombie cloth stare at you from
mannequins in the happily reflecting windows.
You decide to buy something and come to
school and walk on the streets to see that ten other people
have the exact outfit.
There seems to be a shortage of new ideas
in the fashion industry right now. Gap has reissued its
khakis in the form of boyfriend trousers for the millionth
time. American Eagle and Abercrombie seem to be running out
of innuendos to display on their sheer tees. Not to mention
Levi’s recycling of their boot-cut jeans...again.
But I guess these recycles operate on the
concept of supply and demand. If mainstream- malling America
wants another twenty-dollared Henley tee, by god, we’ll give
it to them.
But at least mainstream stores and buyers
know they are traditional and are proud of it. What gets me
the most are the decidedly ‘alternative’ styled stores that
are cropping up as a new mainstream-alternative pop culture.
The whole concept of alternative is to
deviate from the mainstream. Supposedly niched in
individuality, a paradox arises when stores that are known
for their independent scenes go commercialized and spawn a
generation of pseudo-hipsters pursuing a hypocritical
fashion. It’s like in middle school, when punk-rock was
synonymous with Good Charlotte and Blink 182 and the style
was skateboarding while wearing checkered Vans.
The alternative inspired, decked in black
Hot Topic, is now one of the most popular stores in America.
With its implied message that wearing band-tees are way
cooler than your regular polo, the store attracts youngsters
to express their style. But with the same black-zipper
pants, rock tee logo, and chunky combat boots, crops of
‘alternative’ zombies are invading the streets.
Same goes with those Converse All-Star
chucks. Supposed to be the champion of individual style,
they are actually the most popular athletic shoes in
history. After Johnny Ramone sported them, they became a key
shoe of alternative rock culture. So much for the original
punk message of nonconformity and anarchy. But of course you
can make the shoes special to you; just change the color of
the shoelaces and draw on the canvas. That way, no one will
have your truly individual style.
Then there’s Forever 21, the holy mother
of fast food fashion. This store is ingenious. It takes
designer styles and rips them off to make cheapies for
Middle America. Styles are gone in a whirling three weeks as
the catwalking Dior and Marc Jacobs design new goodies to be
copied. As the fashion breeze changes, so does the dwindling
size of your wallet as well as the expansion of the unused
back section of your closet.
So where does that leave me? I don’t know
actually. I’m seriously confused about fashion trends now,
because appearances are just as important as the
much-idolized ‘inner beauty,” and I need to find a personal
style. But how should I be portrayed in a whirlwind of
fashion niches that all sends out a different message? I
want individuality but can’t seem to find anything
satisfying. Unless you go designer and buy rare couture or
go vintage to find oldies goods, pretty much Middle America
is doomed in a pseudo-individualistic phase.
Whatever. Maybe I’ll go naked for a
while. A true punk revolution. Wait. Watch that be the new